A Minute With: Rapper RZA putting on "Iron Fists" for new movie

Wed Oct 31, 2012 2:51pm EDT
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rapper and music producer RZA is best known as the leader of the hip-hop group the Wu-Tang Clan which also includes such popular members as Method Man, Ghostface Killah and the late Ol' Dirty Bastard.

RZA branched out into film, taking on small acting roles and scoring music, including the soundtrack for Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill: Vol. 1."

Now, nearly a decade later, 43-year-old RZA has combined his childhood love of martial arts movies to co-write with Eli Roth the feature film "The Man With the Iron Fists," which he also directs and acts in the title role.

Shot on location in China, and co-starring Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu, Iron Fists is set during the 19th century and sees several groups of warriors and assassins descend on a village in search of gold. The quiet and unassuming local blacksmith (RZA) ends up being the village defender.

RZA, whose real name is Robert Fitzgerald Diggs, sat down with Reuters in Hollywood to talk about the film and the future of the Wu-Tang Clan.

Q: You had to pull double duty, working simultaneously in front and behind the camera. How did you balance that?

A: "My spirit had to be extra strong to pull this off. It was difficult because in the morning (as the director) I'm worrying about everybody else, I'm talking fast. Then I have to get ready for the scene and I gotta sync my voice down to this guy. I gotta sync my spirit to him. He doesn't smile once in the film. I smile. I'm not this morbid dude. He's almost empty."

Q: This is your biggest acting role to date. What did you learn as an actor?   Continued...

RZA poses for a photograph while promoting the upcoming film The Man With the Iron Fists in West Hollywood, California, October 24, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn